CYWC – UC Berkeley
Utilization of Women’s Sexual Health Services and
Disclosure of Sexual Assault
In the fall of 2008, two student research teams at UC Berkeley began conducting surveys of female undergraduate students on campus. Given the number of available women’s sexual health services and programs available to students at UC Berkeley, one of the student teams wanted to research the utilization rates of these services and whether there were any ethnic differences in utilization. In particular, the students examined the usage of three types of women’s sexual health services available through the University Health Services (Tang Student Health Center): gynecological services, the Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP) peer counseling services, and the Online Health Materials informational website.
Some of the major findings:
- API women feel less comfortable with sexual communication and sexual self-efficacy (72% of API women find sexual communication to be DIFFICULT or EXTREMELEY DIFFICULT, compared to 49% of white women).
- API women are half as likely as white women to use the Tang Center’s gynecological services, even though both groups had similar risky behaviors.
To combat a culture of silence and trauma around sexual assault on college campuses, UC Berkeley’s second student team conducted research on unwanted sexual experiences and subsequent disclosure. They found that:
- 1 in 3 women on campus have experienced some form of sexual assault.
- Of the women who have experienced sexual assault, 54% said that their most recent assault happened during their time in college.
- 76% of women who have experienced some form of sexual assault have NEVER attended a campus event that was organized for their support.
» Read “Breaking Down the Silence: A Study Examining Patterns of Sexual Assault and Subsequent Disclosure among Ethnic Groups of Asian American College Women” in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion 2009, Volume 7, Issue 2 authored by the CYWC team.
» Meet the UC Berkeley students and staff.
Sexual Health Education and Empowerment (SHE) – The utilization team created a health education campaign called Sexual Health Education and Empowerment (SHE). Since their research showed that UC Berkeley women generally have their first experience of sexual intercourse during their first or second year of college, the CYWC education campaign about women’s health was particularly timely. As the students wrote, “It is crucial for possible cultural barriers to not deter Asian American women from seeking women’s health care.”
CARE – The sexual assault disclosure group’s study found that the vast majority of women who DO disclose sexual assault do so to informal sources, such as friends or partners. Disclosure of sexual assault can decrease the post-traumatic stress symptoms that follow assault. The students created a campaign, CARE, to raise awareness of campus sexual assault resources, and to engender a socially responsive campus with strong peer support.